Be Unselfish with Our Blessings

Yael Eckstein  |  April 7, 2022

Yael Eckstein giving needy elderly woman a blanket

The priest is to order the house to be emptied before he goes in to examine the mold, so that nothing in the house will be pronounced unclean. After this the priest is to go in and inspect the house. —Leviticus 14:36

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Metzora, which means “diseased,” from Leviticus 14:1-15:33.

A home can be many things. A home is where we feel safe, in our own space. At home we can be more focused on our relationships to those closest to us. Home is also where we can close the door and separate ourselves from the outside world. But for me as a mother, I see my home, first and foremost, as a place for the education of my children.

In my home, one of the main lessons I try to pass on to my children is the sense of generosity that I learned from my own parents by caring for those in need with genuine concern, respect, and love. To that end, we have multiple tzedakah (charity) boxes placed around our home in order to encourage giving regularly and spontaneously.

We also place money in our tzedakah box before lighting Shabbat candles on Friday evening. On the Sabbath, we invite anyone without a place to eat to come share a meal in our home with our family. We involve our children as much as we can in charitable giving and efforts so that they can experience firsthand the joy and fulfillment that giving brings to both the giver and the receiver.

Be Unselfish with Our Blessings

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn another important lesson about how we use our homes. The Bible describes the impure “spreading mold” that could afflict a person’s house. According to the Jewish sages, this mold was punishment for being selfish, arrogant, and unkind to others.

The sages explained with an example that comes from the Midrash. “A woman says to her neighbor, ‘Please lend me your sieve.’ ‘I don’t have one,’ she replies. So, God brings impure mold on her house. When she empties her house to purify it, the neighbors see her sieve and know that she was lying.”

Our homes, our private spaces, and possessions can be used as tools to separate us from others, or they can be a platform for giving to others and building relationships with our community. The message of the “spreading mold” of the Bible is to be unselfish with the blessings that God has given us and to use our homes to serve others with love and open arms.

Your Turn:

In what ways do you already use your home to share your blessings with others? What are other ways you can consider adopting to be a “giving” home?